A recent article in Variety notes some very big changes for several old media brands. Major developments at The Village Voice, Condé Nast, Time, and Playboy signal a need for “millennial, new-media currency,” according to the entertainment industry’s trade publication of record.
Just how exactly do these established brands plan to flourish (or maybe just even survive) as the media world struggles to monetize content? Let’s take a look.
Sale of The Village Voice
Pennsylvania newspaper owner Peter Barbey has acquired The Village Voice. The purchase of the alternative weekly follows the purchases of a handful of struggling publications by wealthy investors.
Jeff Bezos did this with The Washington Post, John Henry with The Boston Globe, and Glen Taylor with Minneapolis’ Star Tribune. The paper plans to use its new owner’s deep pockets to bolster content, starting with arts coverage.
Condé Nast and Time Make Acquisitions
A couple of big magazine companies are courting the millennials by acquiring digital brands that younger audiences already know and love.
Condé Nast just did this with Pitchfork, a darling of the indie music world. Time, meanwhile, has bought Zooey Deschanel’s Hello Giggles website, which is touted as a “millennial lifestyle brand” focusing on female-friendly content. Hello Giggles has about 17 million unique visitors per month; Pitchfork, 6 million.
Playboy Becomes Safe for Work
Much has been made of Playboy’s recognition that it can no longer make money from showcasing nude photos, given the intense competition from a variety of Internet sources that publish such images for free. Instead, the company has chosen to boldly reinvent itself in the digital age.
Notably, the company’s new policy makes its previously blocked content available for distribution on popular digital outlets such as Facebook Instant Articles, Google’s AMP, and Snapchat’s Discover. This move could open up Playboy to a new generation of readers.
Industry Impact — Established media companies may benefit from making big changes to survive in the digital era. These may include new ownership, acquiring new media properties, and a reinvention through a shift in content strategy.
Amy Schein is an Industry Specialist at First Research, where she covers various aspects of the media industry. She earned her BS and MA in media studies at the University of Texas at Austin. Follow Amy on Twitter.